The tabloid tweets and headlines in London early Friday were gleeful: "Prince Harry's girlfriend spotted in London!"
Yes, royal fans, American actress Meghan Markle, whom Prince Harry confirmed this week as his new flame, is in London at the moment, after taking a break from filming Suits in Toronto.
Will we see the love birds together at last? The palace is not saying, but Harry, a patron of the Rugby Football Union, is scheduled to attend the England vs. South Africa game at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday afternoon. It could be the perfect opportunity for them to introduce themselves as a couple (and for Harry to introduce his Yankee girlfriend to vigorous English rugby).
Until then, everyone will have to rely on paparazzi pictures published Friday in the Daily Mail, showing a solitary figure in dark blue wellies, a parka and brown baseball cap pulled down over her face, carrying a Whole Foods bag and another bag reading "Alleviating Poverty Worldwide."
She was trudging down a street, headed into the gates at Kensington Palace where, the Mailand the Mirror and others reported, she is staying with Harry at his digs in Nottingham Cottage.
The Mail reported that people who saw her shopping nearby said she had a poppy pinned to her lapel — a very British, very royal custom in November to honor veterans of past wars.
Harry, 32, and Markle, 35, have been dating for months but their relationship only emerged last week, and so far there are no public photos of them together — an amazing feat of subterfuge in the era of 24/7 paparazzi coverage of the royals.
He took the extraordinary step of publicly acknowledging their relationship Tuesday in a statement that blasted tabloid and social-media coverage of the actress/foodie/humanitarian activist as abusive stalking, verging on racist. Markle is biracial; her mother is black, her father is white. "The past week has seen a line crossed," the statement read.
Harry sought to persuade the media, at least in Britain, to leave her alone. It's not happening yet.
Harry is scheduled to make at least one more public appearance, on Tuesday at an anti-HIV/AIDS charity in London, before he departs Nov. 20 on a two-week tour of the Caribbean on behalf of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.